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Tung, linseed or tru- oil???

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by tws3b2, Mar 2, 2020.

  1. tws3b2

    tws3b2 Member

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    Just finished re bluing my Marlin 15. Now getting ready to start on the stock. I know I'm going to open up a can of worms here. But here goes. The stock now has a redish color to it. I would like the new finish to at least have some red, maybe not as dark. Would any of the oils give a redish look? 20200202_202831_resized.jpg
     
  2. boom boom
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    boom boom Contributing Member

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    Your stock appears to be birch with a bit of a shine, so red is not its natural color. Thus, when you strip it, a lot of the stain/varnish/poly mix will come off and often leaving a blotchy stock reflecting the original blondish color of birch. Sanding then is often necessary to remove enough surface discolored by the old finish depending on what was used.

    The oils you mention themselves don't give color so much as they accentuate what color is in the stock. Linseed mixes over time will darken a bit from light exposure and oxidation so linseed tended to emphasize a reddish tint on a walnut military rifle stock which was simply a byproduct of the oil and time. I don't use tung oil much but it also darkens the wood a bit and requires for best effect many thin coats. I would do an image search via google or bing of before and after linseed oil on birch and then tung oil on birch to get some idea of what it might look like and then figure out what stains you would need to get the effect you want.

    You can use Tru-Oil or linseed, but you will need a stain if you want that reddish color as birch is a light whitish yellow in its natural state. Here is a discussion of using Tru-Oil (which has linseed in it among other things) plus some alcohol stains to get a decent replica of military red stocks. They also discuss tung oil use on these stocks.
    https://m14forum.com/stock/124678-refinishing-birch-stock.html
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2020
  3. SGW Gunsmith

    SGW Gunsmith Member

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    ^^^^^^^I've seen those "blotchy" stocks also, and frankly, they look like hell. Depending on whether you prefer a matte or gloss finish, what I would try is using a varnish right over the top of the stock as is. Birch can be a really funky wood to strip and then refinish. Too many soft and hard areas in the birch wood's character that takes stain differently, and then afterward comes the regret.
     
  4. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    As @boom boom wrote your stock is birch with a dye. I have used the Chestnutridge walnut stain on stocks before and it worked very well. It had the right red color to copy military stocks. Linseed oil takes forever to dry, I used to saturate the stock with linseed oil and then apply varnish over it. I don't remember those stocks turning dark because linseed needs contact with oxygen to dry. Brownell's has a number of stock dyes, AIR ART AVIATION - MILITARY STOCK STAIN appears to have a number of mixes, about half are out of stock, that provide different shades

    With any stain, test it first. Take a cotton ball, Q-Tip and touch something birch and see how it looks.

    I thought was interesting, trying to find Chestnutridge, a number of posts of refinishers using fiebings leather dyes.
     
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  5. beag_nut

    beag_nut Member

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    If the stock is birch (likely), and you will strip the wood, and you want a reddish color, you need to color it. But I wouldn't use a stain. In my furniture business, when I wanted to darken some wood, I used a water-soluble dye, not a stain premixed. That allows one to use WHATEVER finish later on once the water has evaporated, and it does not accentuate the grain because the dye colors all the wood fibers evenly. Plus there is the side benefit that the wood fibers are standing up (after drying) making it easy to cut them down with fine paper.
     
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  6. tws3b2

    tws3b2 Member

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    Wow, I didn't know it was going to be so complicated just to get a little red into this piece of wood. How would birch look with a lighter color or maybe just tru oil alone?
     
  7. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    Leather dye and wood dye are the same formula so if all you can find is one or the other in whichever color you need them your good.

    Dyes marketed to woodworking have more colors.
     
  8. Gumby0961
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    Gumby0961 Contributing Member

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    These have a couple coats of polyurethane 15832947648059089400934153980334.jpg
     
  9. beag_nut

    beag_nut Member

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    I have extra, unopened envelopes of Lee Valley Wood dye, which I have no further use for (one of each). One is "red cherry", and the other is "brown walnut". If you want them (free), send me a PM.
     
  10. tws3b2

    tws3b2 Member

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    Thanks, beag_nut. I think I'm going to wait till I get the stock stripped down to see what I got. I may take you up on that after. Thanks again for your offer.
     
  11. SGW Gunsmith

    SGW Gunsmith Member

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    Considering birch is normally not too well endowed with much figure, I think your refinishing of those two stock does both a HUGE favor. CRFymUkm.jpg
     
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  12. boom boom
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    boom boom Contributing Member

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    I generally use birch whenever I want the wood grain to be less the center of the attention and you want details such as checkering, etc. to shine as in Gumby's stock above. It also is a good wood to paint/use solid stains/dyes/or semi transparent if there is a bit of figure.

    DeaninDallas's posts in the past has me considering doing a birch stock using a pine tar finish as I have a cut 96 Swede stock that could use a bit of smartening up. Intend to use it in a .22 single shot 96 Mauser conversion if and when I get the time.
     
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  13. SGW Gunsmith

    SGW Gunsmith Member

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    I've worked with some outstanding maple stocks with flame shell, fiddleback and birds-eye figure involved. Tiny pores, tight grain and harder than a witches heart. Had to increase the angle on my chisels used with that hard maple, but man, did it ever checker nicely. Stockmaker named Hal Hartley used to work a lot with maple stocks and he would "singe" the stocks with a torch to bring out the grain pattern. The birds-eye maple will give a stockmaker fits with all those little round 'eyes', especially when they pop out of place.
     
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  14. edwardware

    edwardware Member

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    I am a big fan of 15+ coats of TruOil (go light!) with a 600-800 grit sand down in between. It leaves a beautiful, tough, matte finish.
     
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  15. Cocked & Locked
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    Cocked & Locked Member

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    I'd leave the stain as it is is. Wax it it and move on to another project.
     
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  16. tws3b2

    tws3b2 Member

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    I really like the rifle on the bottom. What did you use to darken the inletting? I just finished stripping my stock and was thinking it would look good if done like yours. Darken the carving on the grip, black butt plate and clear poly the wood. Don't think I'd be able to get to look any better than that.
     

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  17. boom boom
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    boom boom Contributing Member

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    I've worked with maple on furniture building (a wall of built in cabinets and matching desk) and you are right.

    It is some really tough wood that can have spectacular figures. I prefer it to oak due to oak's tendency to splinter a bit during cuts and walnut is just too darn expensive for large scale products anymore. Maple and birch are two reliables in furniture and rifle stocks along with walnut. However, someone on the THR recently posted showing a hackberry stock that I liked quite a bit.
     
  18. stchman

    stchman Member

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    I have dome this in the past with refinishing stocks.

    1. Boiled Linseed Oil, several applications.
    2. Let the BLO sit on the stock for a few months allowing it to give the wood that nice dark BLO appearance.
    3. Apply Tru-oil to the stock giving it a beautiful shine.
     
  19. possumbelly220

    possumbelly220 Member

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  20. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    1 part BLO
    2 parts spar varnish
    3 parts mineral spirits

    sanded in with 600 or green scotch Britt while being applied and then wiped off across the grain. Wait a day between coats. 3-4 coats is usually all it takes. I use this for furniture and kitchen cabinets too. In the endless world of finishes it is good to just keep things simple when you are getting good results.
     
  21. beag_nut

    beag_nut Member

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    Even simpler, with just one ingredient: Minwax Wipe-On Poly, either satin or gloss. More durable, too. Wipe or brush it on, then wipe it off, then let dry. Switched to it for all the furniture I made for customers (500+) and never a complaint. Just one caution: as with boiled linseed oil, wet down the stuff going into the trash, to prevent spontaneous combustion (of the rags, not the person!).
     
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  22. Gumby0961
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    Gumby0961 Contributing Member

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    I used Rustoleum camo paint earth brown and forest green on the checkering. The brown clogged is the reason for the 2 colors, the other side is green only. Wasn't sure how the strip the old finish from the checkering so I masked and painted them. I think I sprayed satin poly over the paint but not positive. Old age is setting in I guess. Good luck with yours.
     
  23. carbine85

    carbine85 Member

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    My son refinished a stock similar in pattern. He used a torch to enhance the feathering of the grain, stained and linseed oil. It came out with a tiger-striped pattern.
     
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  24. funnelcake

    funnelcake Member

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  25. Mosin Bubba

    Mosin Bubba Member

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    The stock color looks pretty good to me, and I agree with the others that stripping a soft, oily wood is a can of worms. Your call, but I would leave it as is.

    Linseed oil would bring out some of the color, but it's not as protective against water and abrasion as a varnish. If this is a plinker or wall hanger, then BLO usually looks the best on old guns in my opinion (gives you that wet look without the shine), but it's not good protection if you're going outdoors. Just a tip for any readers to file away: one thing it does do really well is re-moisturizing dry wood. I restored a 1950s jukebox that had been sitting in a high-desert barn for 30 years. The wood was bone-dry, but a few coats of BLO brought back the color and made it look fantastic without any stain.

    The Garand guys swear by Tung oil, but I have never tried it.

    Polyurethane is tough stuff, but you really have to layer it on thin and buff it down or otherwise it ends up looking plastic-ey. I refinished the floor of a rental house I was helping someone with using Minwax and liked the look; I used some of that can for a rifle stock and was not as happy. In hindsight, I was probably used to treating it like a floor and layered the poly on too thick.

    Also an idea out of left field - if you happen to want that Browning type gloss where it looks like the wood is sitting under a glass display case, use Turtle Wax. Make sure it is non-abrasive (no polish) or otherwise it will trash your wood. Try it on a scrap piece of birch first and see what you think, but I have done two stocks with it and they look amazing.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2020
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